What does patulous eustachian tube (PET) mean?
Patulous means open, gaping, expanded
Eustachian tube means a canal extending from the middle ear to the pharynx; auditory canal
A rare physical disorder where the Eustachian tube, which is normally closed, instead stays intermittently open. When this occurs, the patient experiences autophony, the hearing of self-generated sounds. These sounds, such as one's own breathing, voice, and heartbeat, vibrate directly onto the ear drum and can create a "bucket on the head" effect.
Ready for some really disturbing images?
|Here's a diagram of the ear and what happens when the E tube is working ok.|
|Lesson learned: The inside of the ear looks really really disgusting.|
So, after hearing all of this, I asked the doctor the ten million dollar question, "Is there a way to fix this?" The answer is that there are minor surgeries that can be done, or I could try gaining five pounds, or whenever I feel it lay down or use lubricating nose spray. I can tell you that I refuse to gain weight on purpose, so that one's out. For now I'm going to try the laying down and the nose spray. My gut feeling is that this will do nothing for it, but you never know. I have a follow-up appointment in January.
So remember up there when it says this is a rare condition? Yeah, story of my life. Here are some other facts about PET:
- The average age is 30 years, with a female prevalence
(Interesting. I'm a female and will be turning 30 in two short months.)
- Fatty tissues hold the tube closed most of the time in healthy individuals
- Substances which dehydrate the body are also possible causes of patulous Eustachian tube. Examples are stimulants (including caffeine) and exercise
(...and so I'm still staying off caffeine and sodium. I miss coffee so much.)
- In extreme cases surgical intervention may attempt to "bulk up" the Eustachian tube tissues with fat, gel foam, or cartilage or scar it closed with cautery. These methods are not always successful.
(I have a feeling I'm stuck with this forever.)
The things that make all this seem ok?
|Yes, we're snuggling. What's it to you?|
|Mom mom mom mom pet me mom mom mom mom.|